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What Not to Wear to a Job Interview

February 16, 2012

You finally got the job interview you've wanted, have researched the company and position in question, and have prepared a list of smart questions to ask. Now the only thing left is putting together the perfect outfit. Since you have one shot to make a good first impression, it's essential that you ensure you don't sabotage your opportunity with an unintentional style faux paus. While what to wear depends on where you are interviewing, the following items are pretty universally known to make a less than stellar first impression. Steer clear of them and you're another step ahead of the game.

Short skirt
Unless you're interviewing to be a leg model, if your skirt falls above the knee, don't wear it to an interview. Not only will you constantly be trying to sit in a way that doesn't give the interviewer a view straight up your skirt, it's not the most professional option and could put off a potential employer. You don't have to skip wearing a skirt or dress altogether, just make sure it's long enough to cover your thighs when seated.


Shorts are never acceptable for an interview. They are way too casual and show a lack of respect for the interview and the interviewer. While some industries don't expect a full suit and tie, there is no profession so causal that shorts will do the trick. Take the extra minute and throw on some slacks.

Visible undergarments
If your bra straps are visible at all-even if they're the same color as your blouse-wear something else. It's just not very classy to have your underwear showing in such a professional environment.

Low-cut or too-short shirts

An interview at Hooters aside, under no circumstances should you show any cleavage at an interview. Remember, what you wear off the job doesn't have to seep into your professional wardrobe. And make sure your shirt isn't too short either. Your belly shouldn't be making any unplanned appearances during your meet and greet.

Heavy makeup
Save the heavy eyeliner and bold lipstick for your next night on the town and keep the makeup palette neutral for your interview. You can use some color, just don't go overboard. And don't go too heavy on the lip gloss. Not only could it end up on your teeth, it can be distracting if applied too liberally.


It doesn't matter how dark or upscale your jeans are; don't wear them to an interview. It's always better to arrive overdressed than underdressed. We promise no one is going to dock you points for showing up to an interview looking clean, crisp, and professional.

Flip-flops or sneakers

It's true interview attire isn't as conservative as it used to be. But that doesn't mean you can show up in a sundress and cute little flip-flops and expect to make a good first impression. Invest in a pair of dress shoes that you can wear with work-appropriate suits and dresses.

Too much jewelry

If you can hear your jewelry while walking, you've got too much on. Keep necklaces and earrings simple and limit yourself to one ring per hand. You don't want to distract a potential employer with busy or loud jewelry.

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